Northeast Ohio teen is first in country to have new smartphone-compatible cardiac monitor implanted

Posted at 7:05 PM, Nov 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 19:05:13-05

Just within the past week, the FDA approved a new heart-monitoring device that works alongside a patient's smartphone.

Only News 5 was there to see the first pediatric patient in the world to have the heart-monitoring device implanted at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.  

“That's kind of exciting,” explained Shannon Sanders. “Because he's like making history for kids and he gets to find out for other kids. It's great.”  

About three months ago, her 17-year-old son Hunter Flick passed out suddenly. 

“We were at his sister Emily's house and he was trying to pull a post out of the ground so the kids didn't get hurt on it and he overexerted himself and passed out and his lips turned a little blue,” Sanders said.  

And the fainting episodes keep happening.

“Every time when I get stressed out or overwork my body, it makes me pass out over it,” said Flick.

The problem is, doctors don't really know why.  

“They think he has a rare condition most kids don't have,” noted Sanders.  

So Flick was at Rainbow on Tuesday to get the first-of-its-kind smartphone-compatible cardiac monitor implanted

“It will be a relief to have some answers,” Flick said.  

“We put it into the patient's chest wall, just under the skin, and then this records his heart rhythm 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” explained Dr. Christopher Snyder, chief of pediatric cardiology at Rainbow.  

In the past, monitors would have to be hooked up to a machine to receive data. This particular device records exactly what is going on with the heart and sends it right to the patient's smartphone, and then on to their doctor.  

“He can be in class and have an episode and within two or three minutes, the episode will appear on my phone and we're able to make a diagnosis,” said Dr. Snyder.

It is also quick and easy to implant. The entire procedure takes just four minutes.

Dr. Snyder says Flick is the perfect fit to be the first pediatric patient on earth to have it done.  

“He's the ideal patient. He's 17 years old, very tech savvy.”

Flick will have the monitor in for a couple of years. It will record every episode, store the information and send it all to the doctor so they can figure out exactly what's causing him to pass out so frequently.

And the best part? It won't disrupt his life at all. He can be anywhere in the world and that data will go right to his doctor.